Thursday, 14 July 2016

Tough Love

I felt like I was skipping school by taking Wednesday off work to ride horses. Better yet, it was for a XC clinic in the city. Tough life, am I right? :)

The morning started out positively - somehow we got three trailer loads of horses and all their belongings and associated people to the ferry on time. Yay for being on schedule!

The equestrian park we went to was gorgeous, and had what felt like hundreds of jumps set up everywhere. Even better, they had tons of starter and pre entry stuff, little versions of basically everything the big kids get to jump.

Upper field has a bunch of baby sized stuff
Midge was quite honestly being a bit of a jerk as we warmed up...ignoring me and screaming at all her new friends instead. Also, she was being quite sour about going away from the trailer/her friends. We've been out and about enough and hack out alone all the time, so I had very little sympathy for her and just got down to work, reinforcing the forward button and bending and changing directions to keep her busy and focused on me.

Our lesson started with centering a single starter level log. Midge thought that was exciting and super fun. We then added in some more logs, and a little pre entry ramp type thing. She felt a little sticky at the ramp, but I read the situation right and got her forward enough that stopping wasn't an option. Next, we added some little houses...and the wheels fell off.

 I was given some tough love and reamed out a bit for my part in whatever was happening. Honestly, that made me mad/upset/overwhelmed because I didn't/don't understand what I need to do differently. It was made known to everyone that I Was Riding Very Badly (and there is no excuse, ever, for doing that)  While I agree, I was pretty down because honestly, I was doing the very best I could and trying really hard to just follow instructions and have a really positive outing. Also, as mentioned above, I wasn't really picking up on what exactly I was doing so wrong.

Following that, we had a bunch more misadventures at that line of houses....Midge was super about being forward, but something was happening in the last second. She'd canter up to the fence and convince everyone she was going, but in the last stride slam on the brakes and kind of duck her shoulder/slide over/through...basically the momentum was the only thing getting us to the other side, if we got there. So, we got banished in shame from the exercise and never did get a good run through there. Boo. I may have shed a few tears of frustration, but I was careful to keep some distance because if no one sees you cry it obviously didn't happen, right?; )

By this point the Bridget E-Brake was stuck firmly on and it felt icky.

We moved on to a different part of the course and trainer offered to ride Bridget. Yes please...please someone tell me whatever secret ingredients I am failing to understand! And, Bridget stopped. And stopped again. Oh my. I'm a terrible person, because I was torn between "Ha ha, see, she's very tricky!" and "Yep, I ruined my pony and now she won't even jump for a pro"

Luckily, there is a reason she is the pro. Bridget was made to scramble over from a standstill. My take home for that was that she can jump 2'6" from a standstill, so if that's what you need to do to get to the other side, then do it. Eventually she'll figure out we are going no matter what and that it would be easier to canter up and jump. She galloped B around a bit and jumped some more things but honestly it looked like a lot of work. It was also mentioned that maybe it wasn't all me riding so very badly, the pony is just really tricky to get to and over the jumps. I wasn't feeling it, because honestly, once someone loses their temper or overwhelms me I have a hard time moving past it.

I hopped on and did a little course, and it was sticky, but we got around. Maybe I am being negative, but I didn't feel much better about things, since coach had already made her scramble over the same jumps a few minutes before and it didn't feel much better for me - also I have a funny feeling if we added something new the refusals and misadventures would have started again.

So, a rough day. The pony and I started out having the best day, but then both kinda shut down and wanted to be anywhere but there. If I look back on this blog, I can see pretty much all the new or difficult things with B were initially met with "Nope, don't wanna, can't make me!" Even stuff she loves now like trail riding or jumping in the arena. So there is hope that with hard work we'll conquer this too. But the other part of me is thinking things like being advised to wear bigger spurs are maybe a sign we're on the wrong path. I don't know...will have to think on this a lot more.


Not us. I want so badly for this to be us :(



14 comments:

  1. So what the instructor did not okay- which you know. I refuse to call her a coach because she wasn't. There's a difference between a kick in the butt and a tear down.

    Sounds to me like she over faced the two of you and then blamed you rather then accept that she went too fast.

    Based on my interpretation from your blog, your pony is great but she's smart and she's not immediately 'yes this will be fun' but more wanting to think about it a be sure. Which is fine because many people are like that too. I am impressed with your sticking it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got so many feelings about the whole situation. Mostly I'm angry that Bridget didn't get a positive outing when she totally should have...and at the end of the day, that's on me :( I'm going to do my best to remedy things, but at this point I won't blame her if she decides XC is not fun...because yesterday it really wasn't.

      Delete
  2. Awwwwww I'm so sorry it wasn't a good ride. Don't give up though as you said before your pony is a lot of work and was also very stubborn for things she loves to do now. I'm guessing this will also be one of those things!! She definitely sounds like a challenging pony but looking back at all the obstacles you've faced - I'm sure one day this will be another of those!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Teresa above described her perfectly. It's a matter of convincing her things are fun, so I'm going to work hard to give her lots of fun outings....and no more mean coaching :)

      Delete
  3. Oh, you are my soul sister!! I so, SO understand what you are feeling, and am mired in it now. It is truly rotten. What is helping us right now is taking a step back to silly little fences that both of us can jump with our eyes closed so that we can rebuild confidence in each other. It sucks, and it feels like failure, but we are right along side you and Bridget in this thing!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Trails on the agenda today and maybe some teeny jumps to finish our flat ride tomorrow, basically we're just going to have fun! I'm a bad person because when I read your blog there is a healthy dose of "thank goodness I am not alone in this!" :) As always, we are cheering for you, onwards and upwards!

      Delete
    2. Not a bad person! I feel a little bit the same about reading your blog, LOL! ;) Feel free to shoot me an email any time you need a pony-related vent session! ponylovealk -at- gmail [dot] com :)

      Delete
  4. I agree with the previous posters here - it's not beneficial to beat someone down and expect them to perform better. I've had a clinician try that on me, and I shut down too... It doesn't make me feel good and it doesn't make me want to try harder.

    I'm sorry it was a frustrating outing and that the stars didn't seem to align for either of you. Hugs - onwards and upwards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Onwards we go! The naysayers can stick it, we are having fun with or without them :)

      Delete
  5. Sorry that you guys had a rough outing. I feel like it's so up and down with these little guys and agree that once they decide they're done it's tough to really get things back on track right away. You guys are amazing though and I'm sure after some nice fun rides pony will be right back to behaving herself :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's so mature these days its easy to remember she's still got a baby brain that can decide it's DONE. And there's no negotiating it. At least this time I was done also, and not interested in negotiating either, so at least we were of the same opinion? lol

      Delete
  6. I'm so sorry you guys had such a negative experience. It's really disheartening when a trainer tell you that you are the problem but does not give you the insight and tools to correct the issue. You guys have come so far so don't let this beat you down!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Especially when after all the drama she got on and was like 'Umm, OK...this is MAYBE not all you...", so I walked away from the clinic extra special confused! Is it me? Is it the pony? It is a weird negative human/pony mind meld? ;)

      Delete
  7. I'm sorry and am sending hugs (very belatedly). That's really not a good feeling at all and I'm sorry the coach didn't have much constructive feedback to offer you personally, or reassurances that yes Bridget is in fact tough (of which I have no doubt). Hang in there tho - that house is closer in hand than you might think!!

    ReplyDelete